London Bridge deaths inquests set out knife attack details

London Bridge deaths inquests set out knife attack details

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Undated family handout photos issued by Metropolitan Police of the victims of the London Bridge terrorist attack (top row left to right) Canadian Christine Archibald, James McMullan, Alexandre Pigeard, French chef Sebastien Belanger, (bottom row left to right) Australian nurse Kirsty Boden, Australian Sara Zelenak, Xavier Thomas and Spanish banker Ignacio Echeverria.

Details of the frenzied knife attacks on unarmed victims in the London Bridge atrocity have been set out at the inquests into their deaths.

Three terrorists stabbed people in the neck, back and chest during a rampage which left eight dead on June 3, Southwark Coroner’s Court was told.

The mother of Australian nanny Sara Zelenak was in attendance to hear how her 21-year-old daughter was knifed in the throat on Borough High Street that night.

Julie Wallace, sitting beside her partner Mark Wallace, nodded silently to confirm the spelling of her daughter’s name.

Coroner Andrew Harris opened and adjourned inquests at the court on Tuesday for five victims of the attack.

He told the families:

  • “All of our thoughts and condolences are with you at this terrible time, one of the most horrible things is for parents to be in court hearing the details of a death, particularly a violent one, of their children.”
  • Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, also died in the area on June 3.

    A grim account of their injuries was read out to the inquest, detailing where they had been found and how they were identified.

    Mr McMullan, from Brent, north-west London, was killed by a haemorrhage after being stabbed in the chest in Borough Market.

    He was found lying outside the post office on Borough High Street and was later identified by his father.

    Chef Mr Belanger, originally from Angers, western France, was drinking at the nearby Boro Bistro when he was stabbed repeatedly in the chest, the inquest heard. His body was located in Borough Market and he was identified by dental records and fingerprints while his loved ones spent several days unaware of his fate.

    Nurse Ms Boden, from Loxton, Australia, ran towards the danger in a selfless bid to save people. She was found in the shadow of Southwark Cathedral, on Montague Close, with a stab wound to her chest, and was later identified by DNA and dental records.

    Au pair Ms Zelenak, from Brisbane, Australia, was found in Borough High Street, stabbed in the neck, and was subsequently identified by dental records and DNA.

    HSBC analyst Mr Echeverria, from As Pontes, north-west Spain, was knifed in the back on London Bridge, having tried to defend a woman with his skateboard.

    His body was identified by his brother several days later, the hearing was told. Representatives from the Spanish consulate also attended on behalf of Mr Echeverria’s family.

    Armed police shot dead ringleader Khuram Butt, 27, and his two accomplices Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, just eight minutes after the first emergency call was made.

    The inquest proceedings were suspended by Mr Harris so that the vast police operation was not hampered by his investigation.

    A hearing will take place on Wednesday into the deaths of Canadian Christine Archibald, 30, and Frenchmen Xavier Thomas, 45, and Alexandre Pigeard, 26.

    Scotland Yard said it has established that the three pink knives used by the attackers were bought in a shop in east London.

    Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses to the incident to come forward, as well as anyone who saw the white Renault van used by the trio on June 3.

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